Can Naturalized Citizens Lose Their Citizenship?

After you have obtained your US citizenship, you are generally able to maintain it for the rest of your life. However, in certain specific situations, the United States may choose to revoke your citizenship, or you might choose to give it up on your own. The denaturalization process involuntarily removes your US citizenship, while the renunciation process occurs if you choose to voluntarily give up your citizenship. How can naturalized citizens lose their citizenship?


The United States government can elect to remove or revoke your citizenship through a process known as denaturalization. This can occur for a variety of different reasons, some of which may have occurred in the past and some of which may occur in the future. Some of the reasons include:

  • If you lied during the naturalization process that granted you your citizenship, you may have your naturalization revoked. Naturalized citizens are expected to be completely honest and transparent throughout the interview and testing processes. Some of the most common things that are lied about that lead to denaturalization include failing to tell the truth about your identity, failing to disclose past criminal activity, and others. If the government discovers that you lied at any point during your naturalization process, even about something minor, they may choose to revoke your citizenship.
  • Naturalized citizens cannot refuse to testify before Congress for potential involvement in subversive acts. If you do not testify in front of a United States congressional committee, your citizenship may be revoked.
  • If the United States government has found that you joined a “subversive organization” within five years of your naturalization, you may be denaturalized. Subversive organizations are those that are considered to be threats to national security, and they include Al-Qaeda and the Nazi party.

The denaturalization process takes place in federal court, and you will be forced to leave the country. Additionally, if you have kids that have received US citizenship due to your status, their citizenship will also be at risk. Importantly, you do have the opportunity to appeal the decision that the court made if you believe that legal errors were made. For example, if you are being denaturalized due to the omission of facts on your application but there is no evidence that you intentionally concealed anything, you may have grounds for an appeal.

Learn More About the Immigration Process from The Law Office of Elizabeth Anu Lawrence

If you or a loved one are concerned about felony charges or other convictions that might jeopardize your immigration status, choose an experienced firm like the Law Office of Elizabeth Anu Lawrence to give you the help you need.  Please give us a call at 443.352.3201. Skype and telephone consultation are both available to clients.

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